For Christmas, one of the gifts I was given was a book token for Hodges Figgis, Ireland’s largest book shop, on Dawson Street. HF used to be one of my favourite haunts when I was younger, the perfect place to kill time due to a seemingly unlimited of discreetly-placed chairs in which I would often sit with a pile of books to peruse.
One of the best things about book shops is beautiful books. ‘Never judge by its cover’ is an oft-repeated phrase, but we all do, so the significance of the pictures used on the front of a book is considerable. When it’s done well, the results are beautiful to behold. The photographs used on the covers of Penguin Modern Classics, for example, always seem to sum up the book within perfectly whilst also being aesthetically gratifying:
By the same token however, one thing that I can’t abide is a book which, due to its release as a major motion picture, is ruined with a movie poster-style cover. So little left to the imagination, so much curiosity already satiated. While movie posters aim to wave their arms in the air, as it were, and scream at the audience to come watch it, a book cover aims to titillate a reader’s curiosity and lure him into reading further. We all know the kinds of books I’m talking about:
Luckily, American web artist Spacesick feels my pain and has even had the ingenious idea of retaliating by designing wonderful book covers of feature films in his “I Can Read Films” series. Here are some of my favourites: